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Interviews can be intimidating even for the most practiced veteran, but they don’t have to be. Yes, some of the questions they will ask you might be difficult to answer, but going in with prepared responses will make the process immeasurably more pleasant.


While you don’t know which questions the interviewer will ask you, here are some of the more typical “tough” ones interviewees have faced in the past:


Are you willing to fail?

Interviewers like this question for a few reasons: they want to know how you cope with the possibility of failure, and because they want to know if you’re willing to push yourself to become better. It might feel weird to answer “yes” to this question, but what you really want to get across is how you learn from the opportunity. Saying “no” gives the impression that you shy away from a challenge, and you don’t want that, either.


By saying that failure happens, but you always manage to learn something new from the experience, you should be good to go. You could even take that opportunity to highlight something you learned from a past failure, which you now consider a strength.


What do people most criticize about you?

No one likes being criticized, or even recalling criticism from the past, but this question is set up to alert the interviewer to any potential red flags. Thus, you want to answer appropriately, balanced between “Yes, I am a flawed human who makes mistakes” and “No, I’m perfect, I don’t have any weaknesses.”


Also, like with the previous question, you can take a past example, perhaps something that doesn’t relate to the skill set needed for this new job, and demonstrate how it used to be a critique but have since overcome the obstacle. If there aren’t any outstanding criteria that come to mind, you can mention that, but also emphasize that you are open to personal and professional growth at any time.


Why did you leave your previous job?

This question is especially tricky if you’ve been fired, but essentially, you want to respond by emphasizing the positive reasons you like this different company. You want to frame this transition as a way of advancing your career. If you disliked your previous job, coming out and saying so gives you the appearance of being intolerant or difficult to work with, or lacking composure. Even implying too much of a negative experience will give the wrong impression. You want to present yourself as a positive team player, and positive team players don’t speak badly of others.